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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

All State Hawaii (Honolulu Advertiser)

Posted on: Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Kahuku's Torres tabbed Coach of the Year

Top accolades earned by Kauwalu, Mamiya

By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer


Reggie Torres

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Kahuku was literally all business this season in capturing its fifth state football championship, but its first under Reggie Torres.

Torres, who just completed his first season at the helm, is The Advertiser's state Coach of the Year.

Toward the end of the 2005 season, Kahuku principal Lisa DeLong brought in business consultants Art Hannemann and Morris Graham to help with the football coaches' organization skills, athletic director Joe Whitford said. With more than 150 boys in the junior varsity and varsity teams, Kahuku's football program, as Whitford put it, "is a monster out here." At the time, Torres was Kahuku's JV coach.

When Torres was named varsity coach, he was quick to apply what he learned from the consultants, as well as what he learned while taking business management classes locally at the University of Phoenix.

It began with a mission statement: "Together we will prepare to be the best."

"Most of that came from Coach Siuaki (Livai) and it was a good one so I kept it (the mission statement)," Torres said. "For me as a first-year coach, I used that to create an organization. Start with that. Then start with our management, which is our coaches. That means our coaches had to come together. From there, we funnel it down to the kids. As the season went along, we saw it. In the tight games, we got closer. Everybody was supporting each other. It helped us."

Torres certainly defined himself. There were noticeable differences.

For starters, the haka pregame ritual of the Red Raiders of past seasons and now of the Hawai'i Warriors was scrapped.

"One, I didn't want of offend anybody," Torres said. "Two, I didn't want to offend our opponents. And three, in the pregame warm ups, if somebody did that to our kids, that would just excite our kids and give them a reason to get ready to play football, a reason to get motivated. I didn't want to do that and get somebody else motivated."

The Red Raiders, however, did perform the haka after they won the state title against Saint Louis.

Also noticeable was the attitude of his players. Their two losses came down to last plays of the game. Both were devastating losses. Yet, they were gracious to their opponents after each game.

"We try to teach kids more than football," Torres said. "The biggest thing with our kids is we're trying to get them to be champions. Act like you've been there before. If you celebrate, you celebrate with your teammates. You might lose a game, but you're not going to take our dignity."

Whitford said the business philosophy worked for the Red Raiders, especially with this group, which did not dominate opponents as past Kahuku teams have.

"This wasn't the most talented team compared to most years," Whitford added. "But (Torres) was able to be successful in having the players believe in themselves."

Reach Stacy Kaneshiro at skaneshiro@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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